Bringing joy with tiny tunes and willing learners
STEPHANIE Sims has a passion for the ukulele she is more than happy to pass on to anyone and everyone who is interested in "the instrument of joy".
This includes a brand new course at the Coffs Harbour Library every Friday from 1-3pm, starting on June 28.
"I have been playing the ukulele for eight years now," she said.
"I started Uko Ono in 2016 as a way to share the gift of music through the humble ukulele, or as I call it, the Instrument of Joy.
"I run a range of ukulele groups, workshops and lessons and we regularly perform at Aged Care centres, community events and festivals. The ukulele really is the instrument of the people; it's relatively cheap, portable, so easy to play and has a joyful sound."
She said the new 10-week course at the regional library was an absolute beginners' course and open to anyone wanting to have a play and a sing - no musical background required.
"At the moment, my youngest student is five years old and my oldest (that I know of) is 90 - so I'm expecting parents and children, the old and the young at heart at this new course - and hopefully some workers on their lunch breaks," she laughed.
"Because the library has 15 ukuleles to 'loan out', I hope this course will attract those who wouldn't normally have the opportunity to play.
"I have run courses with new migrant families and the homeless and have seen first hand how music brings people together by reaching across barriers of language, age, nationality, status and culture."
Stephanie is passionate about taking the ukulele into places where people feel dis-connected from society.
This could be because of their health, age, economic status or ethnic background.
"My aim is to share the feeling of connection, joy and value that comes from participating in music," she said.
"It's no mistake that we are launching the new library ukulele program and course on World Make Music Day (June 21)."
The cost for the 10-week Absolute Beginners' course is $50.
For more information go to mycommunitydiary.com.au.